BAGHDAD/BASRA, Iraq - Iraq exported nine shipments of natural gas condensates and 21 shipments of gas liquids in the first quarter of the year, its oil ministry and main gas processing company said on Tuesday.
Iraq started exports of natural gas extracted alongside crude oil at its fields in the southern region in 2016.
Shipments for the first quarter totalled 188,838 cubic metres of condensates, all exported to the United Arab Emirates, Basrah Gas Company media director Shaalan al-Darragi.
Shipments of liquids, also known as cooking gas, totalled 73,740 tonnes, exported to countries including Sri Lanka, Sudan and Pakistan, he told Reuters.
Iraq's gas exports are expected to increase this year compared to 2017, as more gas is captured at the fields and processed, Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement.
Iraq did not announce gas exports for the first quarter last year but current volumes are thought to be significantly higher. Luaibi in January said the country exported 677,885 cubic metres of condensates and 143,667 tonnes of liquids in all of 2017.
The gas is processed and exported by the Basrah Gas Company, a joint venture between state-owned South Gas Company, Shell RDSa.L and Mitsubishi 8058.T .
Basrah Gas is helping Iraq reduce flaring gas associated with oil. Iraq plans to stop flaring by 2021 and is building facilities to process gas captured at its fields into fuel for local consumption or export.
Gas flaring costs nearly $2.5 billion in lost revenue for the government, an amount that would be enough to meet most of Iraq's gas-based power generation needs, the World Bank says.
Iraq's natural gas output will triple to 1,700 million cubic feet per day (cfd) by the end of 2018, as it implements projects to reduce flaring, Luaibi said a year ago.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli in Baghdad and Aref Mohammed in Basra; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Evans) ((email@example.com; +9647901917030;))